Friday, March 14, 2008

Tibet: Tibetan exiles on six-month march, stage hunger strike following arrests

AP reports more than 100 Tibetan exiles are staging a hunger strike after police in northern India dragged them away from a six-month march to their homeland to protest China's hosting of the Olympic Games.

The demonstrators had vowed to march from India to Tibet to coincide with the start of the Aug. 8-24 Games. Fearing the march would embarrass China, Indian officials banned the exiles from leaving the Kangra district that surrounds the city of Dharmsala - the headquarters of the Tibetan government-in-exile in India.

The exiles resisted arrest by sitting or lying down, but they were thrown into police buses here in the town of Dehra, about 12 miles from the district boundary - some crying or shouting, "Free Tibet!"

Senior police official Atul Fulzele said the protesters were charged with threatening the region's "peace and tranquility." Hours after being charged, the protesters embarked on a hunger strike.